Being on a team is a tricky thing. On one hand, relationships must be cultivated and nurtured to develop cohesion and chemistry amongst teammates. Teams, however, can only field so many players each week. There’s only eleven spots in a starting lineup, and not everyone can have one.
For second-year left back Gudi Thorarinsson, seeing New York City FC sign not one but two other left backs this past offseason was surely a tense experience. But despite the arrivals of Malte Amundsen and Chris Gloster, the Icelandic full back is ready to compete for his share of minutes in 2021.
We got a chance to ask Gudi how he felt about balancing friendships whilst still competing for playing time.
“It’s interesting because I’ve thought about this as well,” Gudi said in a presser on Thursday. “The way I look at it is quite simple — as long as I am on the pitch, I am doing my best for the team and I’m trying to perform as best as I can. Of course I want to play and I think that anyone who says they happily sit on the bench... I personally think there’s something wrong. You shouldn’t be playing at a high level if you’re happily sitting on the bench.
“So yeah, [NYCFC] brought in two left backs. I don’t think really that’s a question for me. That’s just... the way they recruit players. In a way, [it’s] none of my business.”
Gudi went on to say that he doesn’t mind competing. As a matter of fact, he relishes it.
“When you’ve done this your whole life, you love competing. I enjoy competing on the pitch and trying to win when we’re playing 5-v-5 or whatever it is. Personally, coming to this age — I’m 29 now — I don’t have a problem with competing on the pitch and being friends off the pitch. It’s just fun to be fair. If there would be no competition, then we wouldn’t be as good as other teams. So yeah, fair competition I think is just healthy for everyone, no matter what you’re doing. If you’re a football player or whatever you’re doing in life.”
Thorarinsson has started both of NYCFC’s games this season and scored his first goal with the club last Saturday against FC Cincinnati.